Almost My Last DC Entry

This past weekend I hosted the last of my many guests, and completed my second to last weekend in DC. Looking back, it has been a wonderful summer in a wonderful city and I feel like I have had the chance to see so many beautiful sites and spend time with so many great people. I will definitely be sad to leave, but I'm looking forward to spending time with family and my puppies and diving into my second year of coursework!

As a weekend recap, here goes!:

We started off Friday night with dinner at the Newseum's signature Wolfgang Puck restaurant called The Source (do you get the play on journalism?). The dinner was lovely -- I had a wild king salmon hand-rubbed with Asian seasonings and served on a bed of bok choy and vegetables accompanied with a delicious Riesling and followed with a warm vahlrona chocolate truffle cake -- until Tausha lost her camera. We're still not entirely sure how "Cameragate," as she calls it, began, and we've yet to get clues from anyone calling themselves "Deep Throat," but somehow her camera went missing after we ate. Although she didn't notice it until we were leaving the movie theater after seeing "The Hangover" (funny, with some vulgar/unnecessary dialogue, but worth seeing for a good laugh), it put a bit of a damper on the evening.

Saturday morning, we began our day with a tour of the Library of Congress, which really is stunning with its gothic arches and Italian-influenced interior decor. As we walked around reading the quotes about literature and pouring over the domed ceiling and ethereal artwork, we seriously thought we were touring some ancient European church, and not a library. From there we had lunch at the American Indian museum cafe (I had chicken mole, which was good, but I think they are lying when they say it has chocolate in it) and then stopped to tour the Hirshhorn, which was a bit of a let down since one of the floors was temporarily closed and some of the exhibits were just totally strange. Nevertheless, we had some fun with my camera's color accent feature as evidenced below with our trippy tribute to the 60s and "Across the Universe":

Since we were able to complete the museum so quickly, we took an hour to explore the US Botanical Gardens, just off the Capitol. Talk about B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! We took more than 40 photos of the gorgeous flowers, although this one, courtesy of Tausha's mad photography skills, takes the cake:

After getting flowered out, we hit up a Thai restaurant for dinner and then took the train out to West Falls Church to see the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap. They were playing a night of movie music by John Williams and covered the themes from Jaws, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Superman and more. The best part was perhaps seeing my good old friends from the 501st, a group of die-hard Star Wars fans that deck out in costumes every chance they get (Jedis, stormtroopers, Jawas and Darth Vader himself made appearances). I met some of the members back when I worked at Disney and covered Star Wars Weekends for the PR team.

Sunday was Tausha's last day, so we began with a leisurely brunch in Georgetown at the cutest little French restaurant called Cafe Bonaparte. I completely blew my diet with a Nutella Cappucchino, a "Rembrandt" omelette filled with brie and sundried tomatoes and half of a chocolate croissant. After that, it was a relaxing stroll through Georgetown to Tudor Place, a magnificent home originally owned by Martha Washington's granddaughter Martha Custis Peter and later passed through the family for more than 100 years.

The weekend didn't end as well as it started unfortunately, as I discovered 6 pesky mosquito bites on my legs (who knew moquitos could bite through jeans?) and a broken air conditioner in my apartment (thank you for rescuing me from my 81 degree sweatbox Amy!). Alas, today I am exhausted and feel ready for my next espresso-filled beverage (already downed a Venti from Starbucks). Toodaloo!

A quarter of a century...

I can't believe I'm 25 years old -- and 25 FEELS old. I'm officially in my mid-twenties and can longer associate myself with the "check here if you are 18-24" box. But I can look forward to cheaper car insurance and no longer having to pay extra fees when I rent a vehicle. Yes, it's that exciting to be a quarter of a century old.
I used to have benchmarks of where I thought I'd be at 25. Surely, I thought I'd be married by now. And goodness knows I NEVER envisioned that I'd be less than a year away from a Harvard MBA. It just goes to show you how life continues to throw hurdles at you, and sometimes it's useless to plan.
In happier news, I did have a very fun birthday weekend filled with friends, food, and lots of siteseeing. My friend Melissa, a sorority sister from UF, came into town and together we conquered the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Georgetown for dinner and a movie, Ford's Theatre and the Peterson House, and finally Lincoln's Cottage at The Soldier's Home. Of all the things we saw, the Lincoln Memorial probably takes the cake for the weekend. The views, both as you approach the memorial, and as you look back at the Washington Monument through it's majestic columns, are truly breathtaking. It makes me wish I had been here on July 4th to sit on the memorial's steps and watch the fireworks going off behind the monument (although I wouldn't have missed Lauren's wedding for the world, of course!).

And then, thrown in there of course, was my birthday dinner. I have to say I was a little disappointed to see the guest list collapse in half, with almost everyone canceling at the last minute (a pet peeve, but you can't change the world just because something annoys you!), but the people I most wanted to be there showed up, so it turned out to be great nonetheless. The table shared a bottle of the most delicious Riesling and we prompted devoured it along with two delicious desserts (a white chocolate mousse cake with raspberry syrup and a banana split creme brulee with caramel sauce and fresh fruit). The restaurant itself, Sequoia, turned out to be a beautiful pick (I sort of chose it randomly based on the menu having never been there myself). The restaurant sits on the Potomac and is decorated in glistening hanging crystals and tiny lights. And once it's dark, the lights both inside, and outside covering all of the trees, turn on to give it a sort of winter wonderland whimsical feel. If I have the time, I'd love to go back at least once more before I depart from DC.
Speaking of departing, I have only 18 days left before I head out to Florida. This summer has gone so quickly and I've enjoyed my time here very much. I will definitely have to make a repeat trip back at some point, as there is so much that I have yet to see. I've got one more guest on the docket, too -- Tausha comes into town Thursday night and departs on Sunday. We're going to hit up The Source restaurant (a fancy Wolfgang Puck joint at The Newseum), the National Symphony Orchestra, The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art, and a French-inspired Georgetown brunch. I love playing hostess, so I can't wait until she gets here! That's all for now, see you again in a week or so!

Best Friends Forever! Another weekend in DC...

My best friend Aynsley left for Florida a few hours ago and I miss her already! Along with her fiance, Mike, Ayns stayed with me for the weekend and it was great to catch up and spend time together since we hadn't seen one another since our Israel trip back in Dec/Jan. She just set her wedding date (Congratulations, can't wait for 10/10/10!!), so we spent a decent amount of time discussing wedding plans while in transit to our many weekend tourist destinations. A recap:
Friday evening, Aynsley's plane was delayed, so when she finally arrived, we scurried off for dinner at Clyde's in Georgetown. Unfortunately, we were seated next to an extremely noisy, rowdy group, but despite their hooting and hollering we had a lovely meal (a crap and artichoke dip appetizer, linguine with shaved parmesan and fresh tomato, and a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream for dessert). Since we didn't make it to dinner until 8:45pm, we finished just after 10pm and called it a night.
Saturday morning, the journey began with a trip to the National Archives (the first photo in this entry is the exterior of the building), where the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are on display. We had to wait in quite a few lines to get into the main rotunda (it was remniscient of Disney World), but it was worth it to see these amazing documents. The Declaration of Independence is incredibly faded, so much so that you can barely see that there was any writing on there at all. They've got a few reprints that show what the document looked like when it was originally crafted, but it's weird to me that they weren't able to preserve it better (both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are in substantially better condition, as was the Magna Carta which is much older!). The rest of the Archives was a bit of a disappointment, so we walked through the public vault exhibits quickly and headed to our next destination: the Hotel Tabard Inn!
I'd heard the brunch at the Tabard Inn was remarkable and we happily agreed! Aynsley and I shared the blueberry buttermilk pancakes and a scrambled eggs and cream cheese dish with home fries, and delicious, fresh-baked doughnuts on the side. They also served a bread/pastry basket filled with mini-muffins (carrot flavored and amazing) and soft, warm raisin bread. And it wasn't that expensive either! From there we headed to Madame Tussauds, a museum that I've wanted to go to for years!

The museum was lots of fun, and between the three of us, we took more than 50 pictures with the wax figures. It was a great time coming up with unique poses and trying on the costume pieces, like the faux fur coats in the picture above. I was sad that the Johnny Depp figure was out for "renovation" as that was the one I wanted to pose with the most (it would perhaps have been the closest I'd ever get to the real thing!). Overall, the museum only took 30 minutes to walk through (thus I was happy to have used my buy one, get one free pass to secure $10 admission), but I'm happy that I finally got to go!

After taking a brief shopping/browsing break and walking past the White House for the requisite DC pictures, we headed into the Court House area for dinner at Ray's The Steaks, a Virginia eating establishment known for having the best steaks in DC at the best prices. It was another great meal -- I had a fillet mignon (6 oz) with foie gras and porcini mushrooms, plus a glass of red wine, side orders of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach, a bread basket and a serving of cocktail nuts for less than $50 including tax and tip. Pretty amazing if you ask me and it all tasted great as well!

After dinner, it was back to Georgetown for an ice cream break at Hershey's and a viewing of The Proposal (amazingly funny and features the cutest fluffy white puppy you will ever see -- go see it if you haven't already!!).

Sunday was the final day of their visit and we spent the majority of it at the US Holocaust Museum. There were definitely some moments that hit home -- like seeing a replica of the Auschwitz entrance sign, the pile of shoes taken from Holocaust victims and an actual train car that 100 people were stuffed into during the ghetto/concentration camp phase of the war. The Holocaust will forever be close to my heart, and although sometimes it's difficult to view the videos and see the remnants of this tragic event, it is SO important that we all remember how one evil man was able to bring on the deaths of 6 million Jews.

We ended the visit on a high note by visiting the museum shop and getting the chance to speak to the husband of a Holocaust survivor. He was there doing a book signing for his wife's memoirs -- she died before her writings were found and her husband had them published for her posthumously. He signed my book and talked to us briefly about how she had always dreamed of being a writer and would be so happy to know that even after her death, she was able to share her story with the world and remind us that we must never let something like this happen again.

We concluded our fun filled weekend with a reunion with an old friend at Starbucks and then an hour of quality time chatting before it was time for her to leave. I miss her already and can't wait to see her for her engagement party in October (or maybe even sooner than that!). Next up is my friend Melissa from UF. More then!!

A July 4th Weekend Wedding

I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Boston and embarking on another DC work week. Thankfully, I had yesterday (Monday) off, tomorrow I'm at the National Conference all day, Thursday is a full day work retreat with the Communications team and then it's Friday again and my bestest Aynsley and her fiance Mike are coming into town! The rest of my stay is going to go so quickly that I need to try extra hard to enjoy every last minute of it!
Now, I know you're all dying to hear about the news of the moment: Lauren's wedding (Congratulations and Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Farber!!). From the very beginning...
I arrived in Boston really early Saturday morning for the rehearsal, which literally lasted about 15 minutes. The rest of the afternoon we all spent by the pool, eating and chatting, and getting sunburned -- well, at least, I got sunburned on my shoulders and it hurt the rest of the weekend! Saturday night we just relaxed around the house, chatting and looking over schedules for Sunday. I practiced my Maid of Honor toast and we all had some good girl talk before heading to bed. Sunday morning we got up at the crack of dawn to shower and prepare for the photographers to arrive for "getting ready" shots. Several hours later after we all did our best to look beautiful, we began professional photos both inside and outside the house. The ceremony started around 2:45pm and was pretty short (or at least it seemed short as I was standing there next to the chuppah!). After the ceremony was the cocktail hour and then we all headed to the tent to start the reception. There was LOTS and LOTS of dancing (including a hora that lasted for like 20 minutes), Lauren sang a romantic song to Jordan, we all toasted the bride and groom and ate some delicious strawberry shortcake. Before I knew it, the night was coming to a close, so we all changed and headed over for the "after party," which was more like a we're-all-exhausted-so-lets-eat-and-chat kind of affair. By 10:30, I was ready for bed, so we decorated the bride and groom's hotel room and swiftly returned to the house for some shut eye.
And then it was over! The next morning we all packed and headed to our various travel destinations with lots of great photos and memories at hand. It was SO great to spend some quality time with some of my best friends (Lauren, Tausha and Christine) and make some new friends too! Now we're all waiting patiently to see the professional photographer's proofs and the wedding video so we can reminisce.
This was a short entry, but I promise there's lots more to come in the next few weeks. Have a great Tuesday everyone!